REVIEW: Tempted All Night by Liz CarlyleSaturday, January 9, 2010 1:00
Once you’ve read three or more books by the same author, you’ve made some decisions about what that author’s books are like. Character or plot driven, good or bad at weaving an action plot with the romance, better at beginnings or endings, etc. After reading Liz Carlyle’s Never trilogy, I’d decided that she wrote frothy, light historicals that were better when focused on the romance. After reading Tempted All Night, I was stuck thinking, “Damn, Liz. You sure fooled me.”
I feel in love with this book the moment I finished the prologue. Lady Phaedra Northampton is alone and dressed as a servant in a bad part of London when scandalous ne’er-do-well Tristan Talbot notices her. Despite his slight inebriation, he escorts her home, getting her safely out of the dangerous situation she got herself into, and keeping his hands to himself despite his attraction. He’s honorable and sexy and won my regard quicker than any other romantic hero I can remember.
But you are of course wondering why I was so surprised by Tempted All Night. Perhaps it’s the fact the heroine is not a virgin. Perhaps it is the search for a missing mother that is as compelling as the romance. (And the romance is hot.) Perhaps it is the S&M brothel. You heard me right, S&M brothel. The instant my fellow historical romance loving friend came over, I shoved this book into her hands. I felt like I’d gotten rid of my shame of romance covers, doing it in front of two guys. They instantly demanded she read some of it, and she promptly opened the book to an S&M brothel scene, making me wish I had been subtle about handing her the book. But I digress.
I don’t want to say too much about the plot, as it’s fun to uncover Phaedra’s secrets as you read. She’s a fabulous heroine. She’s prim and proper in public, especially compared to her friend Zoë Anderson. But when society isn’t looking she feels quite free to be improper and get things done. She’s a good match for Tristan, who has been acting out to spite his father Lord Hauxton, who is in the foreign office. But now that he’s on his deathbed, Tristan is secretly taking over his job. They appear to be opposites but act with similar attentions.
I think fans of Carlyle’s other works will love this one. It has her wit and style, but it’s still surprising. She’s not treading water but trying something new, and it pays off in spades. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Tempted All Night shows up in my Best Books of 2009. To me, it has a perfect combination of hero, heroine, and plot. I hope this one wins Carlyle some new fans, since it will also appeal to those who don’t like their historicals frothy. (As for my friend who borrowed it . . . well, she liked it too.)
Even the most careful lady can be swayed by a scoundrel . . .
Lady Phaedra Northampton is a proper English miss—but burdened by a dark secret. She’s buried her shame in running her wealthy brother, Lord Nash’s, households while hiding behind a sharp wit and dull wardrobe . . . until a reckless village maid’s disappearance pulls her into London’s seedy underworld.
A former mercenary and jaded spy-for-hire, Tristan Talbot, Lord Avoncliffe, now does little, and manages to do it scandalously. Though Tristan’s an out and out rogue, when his dying father begs him to delve into the secrets behind a notorious brothel—a perfect task for his talents!—Tristan can’t refuse. Is the brothel a front for a notorious Russian spy ring? Tristan is on the hunt—until his path collides with the oh-so-tempting Lady Phae.
Soon what should be a simple assignment becomes deliciously complicated . . . when deception and desire lead to an explosive passion—and deadly foes!
Read an excerpt here.